Thursday, May 30, 2019

Spiritual Impulse

In intellectual development we can get much help from books, but in spiritual development, almost nothing. 

In studying books, sometimes we are deluded into thinking that we are being spiritually helped; but if we analyse ourselves, we shall find that only our intellect has been helped, and not the spirit. 
That is the reason why almost everyone of us can speak most wonderfully on spiritual subjects, but when the time of action comes, we find ourselves so woefully deficient. 

It is because books cannot give us that impulse from outside. 
To quicken the spirit, that impulse must come from another soul. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                Addresses on Bhakti-Yoga, New York

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Religion and Creed

I make the distinction between religion and creed. 
Religion is the acceptance of all existing creeds, seeing in them the same striving towards the same destination. 
Creed is something antagonistic and combative. …  … 

I belong to the Hindu religion. … 
We never indulge in missionary work. We do not seek to thrust the principles of our religion upon anyone. … … 

With no effort from us many forms of the Hindu religion are spreading far and wide, and these manifestations have taken the form of Christian science, theosophy, and Edwin Arnold's Light of Asia. 
Our religion is older than most religions and the Christian creed -- i do not call it religion, because of its antagonistic features -- came directly from the Hindu religion. 
It is one of the great offshoots. The Catholic religion also takes all its forms from us -- the confessional, the belief in saints and so on -- … …  

                       - Swami Vivekananda, 
                         Conversations and Dialogues, 
                        Detroit Free Press, February 14, 1894

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Para And Apara

… all knowledge is divided into two classes, the Apara, secular, and the Para, spiritual. 
One pertains to perishable things, and the other to the realm of the spirit. … …

It is not that secular and spiritual knowledge are two opposite and contradictory things; but they are the same thing -- the same infinite knowledge which is everywhere fully present from the lowest atom to the highest Brahman -- they are the same knowledge in its different stages of gradual development. 

This one infinite knowledge we call secular when it is in its lower process of manifestation, and spiritual when it reaches the corresponding higher phase. 

                            - Swami Vivekananda, 
                             an article written for Udbodhan 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Grandest Inheritance

This [spirituality] is the national characteristic, and this cannot be touched. 
Barbarians with sword and fire, barbarians bringing barbarous religions, not one of them could touch the core, not one could touch the "jewel", not one had the power to kill the "bird" which the soul of the race inhabited. 

This, therefore, is the vitality of the race, and so long as that remains, there is no power under the sun that can kill the race. 
All the tortures and miseries of the world will pass over without hurting us, and we shall come out of the flames like Prahlada, so long as we hold on to this grandest of all our inheritances, spirituality. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                 Address at Lahore, 
                 Lectures From Colombo to Almora

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Prema in Heart

Listen, friend, I will speak my heart to thee;
I have found in my life this truth supreme --
Buffeted by waves, in this whirl of life,
There's one ferry that takes across the sea.

Formulas of worship, control of breath,
Science, philosophy, systems varied,
Relinquishment, possession, and the life,
All these are but delusions of the mind --
Love, Love -- that's the one thing, the sole treasure.

In Jiva and Brahman, in man and God,
In ghosts, and wraiths, and spirits, and so forth,
In Devas, beasts, birds, insects, and in worms,
This Prema dwells in the heart of them all.

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                     from ‘To A Friend’ - poem in Bengali

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ganga and Gita

What wonderful relation is this between mother Ganga and the Hindus? Is it merely superstition? May be. 

They spend their lives with the name of Ganga on their lips, they die immersed in the waters of the Ganga, men from far off places take away Ganga water with them, keep it carefully in copper vessels, and sip drops of it on holy festive occasions. Kings and princes keep it in jars, and at considerable expense take the water from Gangotri to pour it on the head of Shiva at Rameshwaram! 

The Hindus visit foreign countries -- rangoon, Java, Hongkong, Madagascar, Suez, Aden, Malta -- and they take with them Ganga water and the Gita.

The Gita and the sacred waters of the Ganga constitute the Hinduism of the Hindus. 

Last time I went to the West, I also took a little of it with me, fearing it might be needed, and whenever opportunities occurred I used to drink a few drops of it. And every time I drank, in the midst of the stream of humanity, amid that bustle of civilisation, that hurry of frenzied footsteps of millions of men and women in the West, the mind at once became calm and still, as it were. 

               - Swami Vivekananda, 
                Memoirs of European Travel 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mother's Work

Disciple: If you give up work for some time and take rest, then you will be all right. Your life means good to the world.

Swamiji: Am I able to sit quiet, my son! Two or three days before Shri Ramakrishna's passing away, She whom he used to call "Kali" entered this body. It is She who takes me here and there and makes me work, without letting me remain quiet or allowing me to look to my personal comforts.

Disciple: Are you speaking metaphorically?

Swamiji: Oh, no; two or three days before his leaving the body, he called me to his side one day, and asking me to sit before him, looked steadfastly at me and fell into Samadhi. Then I really felt that a subtle force like an electric shock was entering my body! 
In a little while, I also lost outward consciousness and sat motionless. How long I stayed in that condition I do not remember; when consciousness returned I found Shri Ramakrishna shedding tears. 
On questioning him, he answered me affectionately, 
"Today, giving you my all, I have become a beggar. With this power you are to do many works for the world's good before you will return." 
I feel that power is constantly directing me to this or that work. This body has not been made for remaining idle. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                   Conversations and Dialogues, 
                   recorded by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty in 1901 
                  (Swamiji was ill at that time) 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Think of God Alone

Give up all evil company, especially at the beginning. 
Avoid worldly company, that will distract your mind. Give up all "me and mine ".

To him who has nothing in the universe the Lord comes. Cut the bondage of all worldly affections; go beyond laziness and all care as to what becomes of you. 
Never turn back to see the result of what you have done. Give all to the Lord and go on and think not of it. 

The whole soul pours in a continuous current to God; there is no time to seek money, or name, or fame, no time to think of anything but God; then will come into our hearts that infinite, wonderful bliss of Love.

Swami Vivekananda, Inspired Talks 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Practical Vedanta

Through the urge of Advaitic realisation, you should sometimes dance wildly and sometimes remain lost to outward sense. Does one feel happy to taste of a good thing by oneself? One should share it with others. 

Granted that you attain personal liberation by means of the realisation of the Advaita, but what matters it to the world? You must liberate the whole universe before you leave this body. Then only you will be established in the eternal Truth. 

Has that bliss any match, my boy? You will be established in that bliss of the Infinite which is limitless like the skies. 
You will be struck dumb to find your presence everywhere in the world of soul and matter. You will feel the whole sentient and insentient world as your own self. Then you can't help treating all with the same kindness as you show towards yourself. This is indeed practical Vedanta. 

                  - Swami Vivekananda, 
                    Conversations and Dialogues, 
                    recorded by Sharat Chandra Chakravarty  

Friday, May 10, 2019

India’s Message to the World

… as far back as the days of the Upanishads we have thrown the challenge to the world: 
न प्रजया धनेन त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानाशु: --"Not by progeny, not by wealth, but by renunciation alone immortality is reached." 

Race after race has taken the challenge up and tried their utmost to solve the world-riddle on the plane of desires. 
They have all failed in the past -- the old ones have become extinct under the weight of wickedness and misery, which lust for power and gold brings in its train, and the new ones are tottering to their fall. 

                 - Swami Vivekananda, 
                  ‘India’s Message to the World’     

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Reforms Based on Vedanta Alone

There is infinite power of development in everything; that is my belief. One atom has the power of the whole universe at its back. 
All along, in the history of the Hindu race, there never was any attempt at destruction, only construction. 
One sect wanted to destroy, and they were thrown out of India: They were the Buddhists. We have had a host of reformers -- Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, and Chaitanya.
These were great reformers, who always were constructive and built according to the circumstances of their time. 

This is our peculiar method of work. All the modern reformers take to European destructive reformation, which will never do good to anyone and never did. Only once was a modern reformer mostly constructive, and that one was Raja Ram Mohan Roy. 
The progress of the Hindu race has been towards the realisation of the Vedantic ideals. 
All history of Indian life is the struggle for the realisation of the ideal of the Vedanta through good or bad fortune. 

Whenever there was any reforming sect or religion which rejected the Vedantic ideal, it was smashed into nothing 

            - Swami Vivekananda, 
              Interview in ‘The Hindu’ Madras (February 1897)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Vairagis and Babajis

Take even an extreme case, that of an extremely ignorant Vairagi. Even he, when he goes into a village tries his best to impart to the villagers whatever he knows, from Tulasidasa, or Chaitanya-charitamrita or the Alwars in Southern India. 

Is that not doing some good? And all this for only a bit of bread and a rag of cloth. 
Before unmercifully criticising them, think how much you do, my brother, for your poor fellow-countrymen, at whose expense you have got your education, and by grinding whose face you maintain your position and pay your teachers for teaching you that the Babajis are only vagabonds. 

                      - Swami Vivekananda, 
                        ‘Reply to the Madras Address’     

Friday, May 3, 2019

Ethnological Museum - History of India!

A veritable ethnological museum! 
Possibly, the half-ape skeleton of the recently discovered Sumatra link will be found on search here, too. 
The Dolmens are not wanting. Flint implements can be dug out almost anywhere. The lake-dwellers -- at least the river-dwellers -- must have been abundant at one time. 
The cave-men and leaf-wearers still persist. The primitive hunters living in forests are in evidence in various parts of the country. 

Then there are the more historical varieties -- the Negrito-kolarian, the Dravidian, and the Aryan. To these have been added from time to time dashes of nearly all the known races, and a great many yet unknown -- various breeds of Mongoloids, Mongols, Tartars, and the so-called Aryans of the philologists. 

Well, here are the Persian, the Greek, the Yunchi, the Hun, the Chin, the Scythian, and many more, melted and fused, the Jews, Parsees, Arabs, Mongols, down to the descendants of the Vikings and the lords of the German forests, yet undigested -- an ocean of humanity, composed of these race-waves 
seething, boiling, struggling, constantly changing form, rising to the surface, and spreading, and swallowing little ones, again subsiding -- this is the history of India. 

                      - Swami Vivekananda, 
                       from the article ‘Aryans and Tamilians’